How do I begin to stop the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell type stalemate with my mother

Nov 30, 2011

Q:I came out to my mother nearly at 18 after she indirectly asked me if I was dating a college friend. I was and currently am dating this same girl now. My mother did not take the news of my sexuality well despite years of me being a tomboy. As a religious Black woman, she believes that the bible is correct in its statement that homosexuality is a sin and has told me this. Despite this, we still talk very often and have a decent relationship although I cannot talk about my loving relationship with my girlfriend or even mention her name. I have no intentions of leaving this relationship or starting to date men, so I need to move forward with my mother and be able to speak frankly about my relationships. My girlfriends parents are very happy with our relationship. I am going to live with my girlfriend for my junior year of college, we visit each other long distance, and plan to travel together- I’m tired of lying to my mother because I don’t want to hurt her feelings anymore. She cries whenever I try to talk about homosexuality or religion since we disagree on both of these topics. How do I begin to stop the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell type stalemate with my mother on my serious relationship with my girlfriend?

A: Dear Already Came Out,

Good for you for having the courage to come out.  It seems clear that your mother isn’t very happy about this, but in spite of that the two of you have remained close.  If you try to get into a philosophical argument about what the Bible says about homosexuality, you will lose.  Since your mother already knows you are gay and you talk frequently, why not try a more subtle approach?  When you are talking to your mother just discreetly mention something you did with your girlfriend.  Give your mother a chance to see the normalcy of your relationship.  Don’t bring up your being gay, bring up your life.  It doesn’t sound like your mother wants to lose her relationship with you.  Give her a chance, take baby steps, allow her to get used to the fact that you have a partner.  No one wants to have their options challenged, especially options about morally.  Allow your mother into your life, bit by bit.  Give her a chance.  Sometimes parents just need time to accept that their child did not become what they expected.  Don’t give up.  Keep talking, try not making the conversation about your sexual orientation.  Your life is more important and I am sure your happiness is the most important thing to your mom.  Good luck.  People change.  But you need to give them room to do that.